70s P-Funk vs later P-funk, and how we relate to it

Hey y’all :slight_smile:

Just curious to know if you consider the 70s (both or either the early psychedelic era or the classic late 70s P-Funk era) to be drastically superior to what came later.

I am under the impression that this is the consensus among P-Funk fans (kind of like Prince fans usually favor his 80s to what came later, and I’d say this is true for most artists, like Bowie in the 70s vs later, etc.: the first decade is often the fans’ favorite).

I remember being a little disappointed, when reading Kris Needs’ (otherwisely amazing) book, with how he detailed each and every 70s side project in details, and barely evoked any past the early 80s.

I became a P-Funk fan in the early 90s and, being born in 1976, I always loved electrofunk from the 80s, and of course, 90s hip-hop and R&B was my generation’s music.

Back then, my first 5 or so P-Funk albums were all from the 80s and 90s, so while I soon fell madly in love with the 70s, I find myself enjoying their 80s and 90s output just as much. And funnily enough, I kind of lost interest after T.AP.O.A.F.O.M. (not that I don’t like what came later, but save maybe for the Drugs album, it didn’t touch me as much), which I kind of suspect is more related to the fact that it came after my coming-of-age years and the first shock of falling in love with P-Funk than with the music itself.

Not to start any heated debate or claim any era is intrisecally superior or inferior, more curious about everyone’s sensibility about various eras, and how it may or may not be related to one’s age and when one discovered P-Funk.

Thanks for sharing your little piece of history with the P :slight_smile:

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Speaking as someone who was born in 99, and who discovered P-Funk around 2015/16, I guess I’d say I view it in more of a sense of when their stuff was most consistently good. I’ve always been partial to Parliament stuff and they’ve only got one album past '80 (MFD), which I only like a handful of songs on to be honest, but the ones I like, I love. Anyhow, I like plenty of their stuff past '70s, I just feel like there are fewer albums that I like almost every song on like most Parliament stuff and a good number of Funkadelic stuff. It seems like George never wants to get complacent with his music, which I admire, so he’s always trying to experiment with new stuff, which yields inconsistent results. That’s how I view it anyways.

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Needs book is in ‘need’ of some serious editing. All manner of flubs and misinformation in there.

I consider the mid 1990’s versions of the band to be the hottest I’ve personally experienced. That chyt was simply unfunkwitable.

I never saw the early 70’s versions. I saw a 1980 version that was kinda raggedy. Some of the 81 Tour was raggedy.
The 76 tour was a tightened up version, had to hit the cues and all. It went more improv from there.
Anti tour was white hot and tight, then it seemed to get a lil wooly for Motor Booty.

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@lotusflow3r In a word, yes. I am a 2nd generation funkateer, born in the 70’s discovered P-Funk via hop-hop samples in the latest 80’s. The first P-Funk album I ever bought was “Cinderella Theory” of all things, and I have all of the major albums and spin-offs, but nothing after “Electric Spanking of War Babies” really compares in terms of the concept album format that Parliament/Funkadelic perfected. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy, the 80’s and 90’s work, most of those releases have gone through regular rotation in my house at one time or another. But if I were to recommend P-Funk albums to another music fan of any background, it’s hard for me to see myself recommending any of the post 81 studio releases over any of the Parliament and Funkadelic proper releases prior to that. You really have to be a hardcore P-Funk fan for the 80’s and 90’s releases to be worthwhile. I do feel like the quality fell off a cliff after T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. Not that they don’t all have some moments, but there has been nothing I can listen start to finish with any sort of frequency.

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For me the 70s is the superior period, it was such an amazing period and they put out a crazy amount of great music. However, when I put on a record I still tend to go for the newer stuff. With “newer” I mean records from around the 90s and later, so not that new anymore… I regularly come back to stuff like Bernie’s Standards, Axiom Funk and Reworked By Detroiters.

I listened to those classic albums so much so usually I just feel like listening to something else. But when I do put them on it’s almost like I forgot how good they are, like damn yeah that’s amazing :smile: . Usually I end up getting into an old album again when it gets a re-release or we talk about it here. I get reminded that I haven’t listened to it in a while. Lately that happened with Eddie’s album, the first Horny Horns and Fuzzy album.

I started getting into pfunk in the 90s, so listened a lot to TAPOAFOM. At first I was more into Parliament, and then later on I started to lean more towards Funkadelic. But in later years I been more and more into the 60s stuff. :slightly_smiling_face:

Yeah I felt the same thing. Would’ve been great if it had more about the later years (and from GC’s own book as well).

I also found some strange things in his book. I suppose it was rushed out in ordered to get it out before Clinton’s book. I think a couple of paragraphs, or if it was a whole page perhaps, were printed twice in my copy. I was like wait a minute, this sounds familiar… But still liked it, it was nice to read somebody else’s perspective on what went down, and not just GC’s.

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My Pfunk timeline…

Born in 71. Grew up listening to Motown and Stax, in particular Stevie, Marvin, Otis and the Supremes. 60s and 70s stuff; thanks mam :metal:
No P, but.

Early 80s. Hip Hop arrives in the UK, I hear Planet Rock for the first time, it is like nothing I’ve ever heard before. Soul Sonic Force look like nothing I’ve ever seen before (but they’re just Clones) I swap Mod clothes for B-Boy threads and 60s beats for Arthur Baker and windmill my way through the early to mid 80s. Still no Pee, although in addition to the Hip Hop, I’d also become a huge fan of Prince. Dirty Mind and Controversy were my guilty secrets - Prince was not considered cool. B-boy Eejits :smile:

Late 80s to early 90s, Acid house years. Local DJ starts playing less Hip Hop and starts dropping classic Chicago house which gives way to Acid house. The next few years are a blur but at least by this point I’ve heard of George Clinton: I hear Chilli Peppers play Higher Ground. I’m hooked and buy the album, swiftly followed by all the albums up to that point. I am particularly struck by the second album, Freaky Styley. It quickly becomes and remains my favourite.

Early to mid 90s. There’s a bit of a funk renaissance going on in the UK, in addition to the House music explosion. Soul II Soul and the Acid Jazz crew, Giles Peterson etc. the DJ’s spinning current tunes and old classics. I hear One Nation for the first time.

Canadian friend - in Canada; there are loads of them there, seemingly - finally turned me on to the P. He had Mothership, Up for the Downstroke, best of Parliament and, America eats it’s Young. Now, the first three were right up my alley and we played them constantly…but…wtf is that third one?!! They had a funk night in back in the day Toronto that was the bomb. Everything was the bomb in those days. Thanks George. :metal:

Back to the Uk, i bought one Nation under a groove and that was probably the beginnings of the romance…the obsession was probably only the last ten years :joy:

I started off loving Parliament - that was immediate. Glen took me to church. Funkadelic took longer -AEIY is probably not the best intro, though I love the bones of it now.

One Nation was not so radically different from Parliament but was the first time I heard Maggot Brain - the live Hampton version. As a Prince fan, I’d heard plenty of boss solos but this was up there with the best of them. Then I dug a little bit deeper and heard of the mysterious legend of Eddie Hazel…

Honestly, I love all their stuff but it’s the first six Funkadelic albums for me above all the other content, narrowly in some cases but consistently. The Westbound years I guess.

Outside of the glory years of ParliamentFunkadelic, I love George’s first album, the first two Pfunk Allstars albums and them playing the Beverley.

Everything else is still P to me, that is to say better than most people’s best, even if it’s not quite the mutt’s nuts. Woof. :metal::metal::metal:

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Background-wise I’m a musician who grew up on Beatles, fusion, and a lotta EWF before falling hard for P-Funk in '77.

With P-Funk I rate the seventies much higher than what came after and I tie that very closely to what they did musically and conceptually during the seventies.

IMHO, the songwriting skills of GC collaborating with of Eddie, Bernie, Bootsy, and Junie were simply off the charts (pun maybe intended). In addition, they were innovative and talented performers who practically created a genre unto itself and were imitated for years. I don’t think any band ever has had that level of creative talent to work with.
With the departure of Bernie, Bootsy and Junie, P-Funk still had plenty of world-class musicians in the stable – witness the nineties shows – but they no longer had multiple songwriters creating new material and breaking new ground in music. (Gotta acknowledge David Spradley for creating so much of the 80’s material.) The music just got a little less interesting to me after that.

At the same time, the out-of-this-world concepts of GC started to fade as the eighties arrived. And the lyrical sensibilities had moved on from “overcoming the syndrome” to things more lighthearted. In the seventies there were a lot of us feeling some of those socio-political undertones and it was cool having this interesting music that weaved those themes into outlandish concept albums (and liner notes!)

Of course, these kinds of changes happen in all bands; we just see it play out more clearly in a band with a 50-60 year history.

Plenty to like all the way up to MFD but to each his reach and my preference is seventies and a little bit o’ early eighties.

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Started in 1975 9th Grade with Mothership Connection - obtained the entire catalog going back from there up until current 1979 ( in real time ) and moving forward anything even remotely related :slight_smile: .
As stated in many of the posts here, it pretty much fell apart in the 80’s. Still awesome and great moments but overall a noticeable falling off after for me The Electric Spanking album .
Clintons Solo albums were Extremely good and satisfying but things were not the same without the cast of the mid to late 70’s. Of course I adapted.
I had the privilege of of talking to Pedro Bell at length quite a few times in the early 90’s about all sorts of things . The topic pf the PFUNK DISCOGRAPHY can be summed up with his synopsis
The last true PFUNK record was Jimmy G and The Tack Heads album.
For me that doesn’t mean that there were and are not great moments after that - but as a whole that may be the last one .
As far as a SONG/Single EP whatever - I’ll go with Stomp and Erotic City particularly stomp.
You got everything from the classic era pretty much brought forward to the then current era.
TAPOFOAM has some really brilliant moments . I’ve tried hard - which is easy I have an open mind and do not live in nostalgia land but shake the gate is equally hard to listen to at times as it is awesome to here some of the modern aspects baked into it.
Most of the rather blatant " shock value " stuff of the modern era is corny and forced - the presentation of such themes in the 70’s was better - but then again everything now is just blatant with no cleverness to it - so you can’t fault them on that

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Definitely the 70s material is superior. I appreciate that the newer stuff (which is still highly enjoyable despite being significantly lower in quality) contains so many call backs to previously visited themes and musical motifs.

I certainly would not have wanted or expected p-funk to sound the same for 60 years straight. I’m glad it’s evolved. Not all of it can be my favorite though. Diversity is good, though. The Mallia album, original P, Tackheads, How Late, Incorporated Thang Band, By Way of the drum, the funk capital of the world, and gangsters of love are among my least favourites, but they will definitely get pulled off the shelf occasionally.

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The first album I heard was Mothership Connection and fell in love with that. This was after spending the previous years listening mainly to acid house, detroit techno, and uk hardcore and jungle/drum and bass,

From there it was the rest of the 70s stuff that I got into next, and for some reason didn’t check out the 80s stuff at all for a few years. Then I finally got hold of a copy of Computer Games and totally loved it, The penny finally dropped that P-Funk with drum machines and synthesizers was defo for me :slight_smile:

So although I think the earlier stuff is more consistent and there is more of it, I do love the 80s stuff just as much.

Its interesting. If you compare the early 70s Funkadelic psychedelic soul sound to the 80s synth P-Funk sound, it really is quite different,. You can hear the strain of influences there, but its not surprising that some people might be more into one than the other.

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Yes, and according to Muruga, going drum machine is the last thing GC wanted to do. The record company put pressure on him for that sound.